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Friday, December 11, 2015 - Alberta's use of advanced technology

Nick Ford • Economist

December 11, 2015

Alberta's use of advanced technology

In the December 5th issue of The Economist, the idea that factories do not seem to be making things faster was noted. Has our technology caught up to us so that we’re not able to make goods, or extract resources as quickly? Or, are businesses not adopting the newest and most efficient forms of technology that exist?
 
Here in Alberta, it could be a bit of both.
 
Research from Statistics Canada’s Survey of Advanced Technology (2014) suggests that, on average, Alberta businesses adopt virtually the same amount of advanced technology when compared against the national average. Just over 41 per cent* of companies from all industries in our province actively applied advanced technology into their operations. That compares to 40.6 per cent of businesses in Canada.
 
The survey studied the use of material handling, supply chain and logistics, business intelligence, design and information control, processing and fabrication, as well as green technologies.
 
As some might imagine, the most popular sector to implement at least one advanced technology was the professional, scientific and technical services sector. Approximately 60 per cent of Alberta businesses dealing in this particular sector implemented advanced technology, which was about four percentage points below the national average.
 
Unexpectedly, the largest disparity was in the mining, quarrying and oil and gas extraction sector.  A quarter of these Alberta companies used at least one of the outlined advanced technologies in 2014 compared to about 40 per cent in Canada. This may seem strange since Alberta has had by far the most active energy sector in the country. Given the current price predicament of oil and all of the cuts to capital spending plans, the adoption of new technology in this particular sector may drop further.
 
*Sample sizes can be small, particularly at the provincial level, so Statistics Canada warns some of the data should be used with caution.

posted in General at Fri, 11 Dec 2015 13:34:00 -0700



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